Simon van Wyk
Co-Founder & Head of Agency
Home base: Sydney
Years in digital marketing: 25
When it comes to digital marketing, co-founder and head of agency, Simon van Wyk, has seen plenty of trends come and go. Simon has led the implementation of digital strategies for the likes of Toyota Australia Astra Zaneca, News Limited, Fairfax, NineMSN, Coca-Cola, HCF, AMP, and Lexus, among many others. As for his role at TourismSolved, he wants to ensure that businesses are ready to deliver the experiences that travelers not only find through Google and marketing campaigns, but want to interact with directly.
More about Simon
What’s a favorite travel memory or travel experience?
Some of my favorite destinations have been the Grand Canyon and Camino de Santiago in Spain. While it’s not a tour experience, Burning Man tops my list and I’ve gone a couple of times. There is no experience quite like walking out at night onto the Playa for the first time. It’s Disneyland for adults.
How long have you been in travel?
I wrote the digital strategy for Jetset Travel World in 2000. They decided the Internet was a fad and the rest is history.
What is it about working in the travel industry that you love the most?
I’ve worked across many different industries and travel and tourism people are the nicest. It’s proof selling something you love is better for you than selling something you don’t care about at all.
What motivates you to stay in the travel industry?
The industry has a massive opportunity to recalibrate the industry for the operator, not the OTAs. It’s exciting because in 5 years the industry will be unrecognisable.
How do you see travel changing over time? What’s exciting about these potential changes?
The customers are in charge and they are all connected with digital devices. They have access through Google to every travel experience on the planet. These customers will migrate to the local providers as they look for better, more authentic experiences. So we’ll see a growth of niche tourism providers, we’ll see less domination from the OTAs. We want to be the business that leads this transformation. How exciting is that?
What 3 things can every tour operator do to make their experience enjoyable for travelers?
1. Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. This means really understand what they want from a product and service business.
2. Be digital: re-engineer your entire business to be online. This means connecting the front and back of the business, introduce online self-service, and automate as much as possible.
3. Be authentic. Everyone who has been to Greece and ate some food served called "Greek Food" by an English person when it’s actually just bad. Make sure your experience represents a unique experience.
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
My wife and I swim in the ocean every Saturday and Sunday. We are hikers and have done a few long walks. But really, we have a dog and grandchildren so we’re most busy enjoying moments with them.
What’s something surprising people might not know about you?
I was a training officer at a womens' military base.